Jorge Lorenzo overcame a spectacular engine failure (pictured), which subsequently caused two riders to fall and temporarily halted qualifying at the Sachsenring, to take pole position for Sunday's German Grand Prix.
The MotoGP World Championship leader was holding third place when his M1 erupted in a ball of smoke and fire along the home straight just after the halfway mark of the hour, sending oil pouring onto the track.
Lorenzo pulled off at the end of the straight, but satellite Yamaha rider Ben Spies and then satellite Honda rider Randy de Puniet fell at high speed after hitting the fluid. Both have been declared fit to race, although de Puniet, who hit Spies' bike as it lay in the gravel, took no further part in the session.
On the resumption of action Lorenzo put in a string of fast laps in the high 1min 21sec, eventually taking pole with four minutes to go before improving again to hold off challenges from Ducati's Casey Stoner and Honda's Dani Pedrosa, with whom he will share the front row tomorrow.
"Since the new engine rule everyone has been starting to feel like these engines never have problems and it was honestly a surprise for me today when I came onto the straight and felt it stop!" said Lorenzo. "It was so hot and there was oil on my feet so I had to go into the wall.
"I'm really sorry that Ben and Randy crashed and especially that Randy was slightly injured, it is good news that he will be able to race tomorrow.
"This pole position was very hard because Casey and Dani were so fast; I had to push at the maximum and ride really well. Well done to my team because we have improved so much since yesterday and now I'm looking forward to the race tomorrow," added the Spaniard, who starts round eight with a 52 point lead over Pedrosa, having won the last three rounds.
Team manager Wilco Zeelenberg said the cause of the engine failure was unclear, but did reveal that it wasn't a new engine.
"As for the engine, we now have one less from our allocation of six and we need time to understand what happened; luckily it wasn't a new engine, it's been in use a long time but it's never nice when something like this happens," he said.
"We're very sorry for the riders that fell and especially for Randy because he has some pain, things happening at that speed are always dangerous and we wish him our best and very much hope it won't affect him in the race tomorrow."
Lorenzo's returning team-mate Valentino Rossi will start from fifth.